Bunratty United celebrate after former starlet signs first pro contract
CORK City have high hopes for Schull teenager Ronan Hurley, who has signed his first professional contract with the club.
Manager John Caulfield feels the rising Schull soccer star has ‘huge potential’ and ‘a great attitude’, as Hurley continues to climb up the ladder.
The former Bunratty United defender, a product of the West Cork Schoolboys League, played in City’s last three league games of the season, making his league debut against Shamrock Rovers, and he looked at home on the big stage.
Caulfield told The Southern Star last month that Hurley is a ‘beautiful passer of the ball’ and ‘has good positioning’ while City midfielder Jimmy Keohane said Hurley ‘is technically very good, a good athlete and there’s a lot to work with there.’
City have seen enough to offer their former U19 captain his first professional contract, which is great news too for his first club, Bunratty United.
‘This means so much to everyone in the club, and it gives great encouragement to all the young ones. It gives them hope that they can follow the same path Ronan has,’ club chairman Martin Briscoe said.
‘We watched Ronan from a kid blossom into a talented young player and it’s brilliant for the club now to have someone reach that level and hopefully go on further.
‘It’s great too for the coaches who trained him here, like Dan McSweeney who had him for a few years, and all the other managers who worked with Ronan.’
Hurley started out life as a centre back with Bunratty, before shifting out to the left, and it’s here, at left back, that he is making a name for himself with Cork City.
The son of Vincent and Susan, and the youngest brother to Cian and Fionn, he left Bunratty to join Lakewood Athletic in the Cork Schoolboys League. After one season there, at U16 level, Hurley impressed at Cork City trials, made the switch and hasn’t looked back since.
‘Ever since I joined Cork City U17s, my aim was to step up and make the breakthrough into the first team, so I am delighted to do that. Hopefully, this is just the start and I can push on from here,’ Hurley said after penning his first pro contract.
‘My main target next season is to play as many games as I can. Playing games is the best way to learn and you learn from your mistakes as well, so I want to improve my game, learn more in training every day and get as much game time as possible.’
Caulfield has been impressed by what he has seen and has no hesitation in tipping his fellow West Corkonian to make a name for himself in the seasons ahead.
‘I think our supporters have seen Ronan play in three league matches towards the end of the season, and he did very well. He was the captain of our U19 side and we see huge potential in him for the future,’ Caulfield said.
‘He has pace, he is good on the ball and has a great attitude.
‘He has to develop physically, and we know, in the off season, that we need to work with him on that, but he is another young player coming through that we have high hopes for.
‘You have to have a core of local lads in your squad, and it is a proud day for Bunratty United in Schull to see him coming through and get the opportunity to be a professional player.
‘Over the last number of years, we have had players from all over the county coming to us at academy level, and we need to continue to do that.’